Realism Through Sculpture: The Hellenistic Period
The Hellenistic Era is a time marked by widespread cultural diffusion. Its canonical dates stretch from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., under whose influence Greek culture and civilization spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia, to the decisive Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. As a result of Alexander’s successful conquests around the Mediterranean and Asia, Greek culture became more diverse with influences coming from many different areas (Fairfield 2012). In the span of two centuries, new patterns of migration and settlement developed as native Greeks relocated around the Mediterranean, especially around Egypt and Syria. The effect of such population shifts allowed for the combination of foreign artistic techniques with indigenous methodologies. Hellenistic influences of Greek culture could be found as far to the east as northern ancient India (Fairfield 2012).
The subject matter of the sculpture produced in the Hellenistic Age is unlike that of any produced in previous time periods. Classical statues were more realistic than that of the Archaic period, however the subject matter rarely strayed from idealized forms of gods, goddesses, and noblemen. Hellenistic sculpture moved away from only portraying the superior and focused on the individual. People from all classes were represented and the artists tried to portray unique experiences and emotions for each subject (Pollit 1986). Additionally, in the Hellenistic Period, realism was taken to a whole new level; it converted to more dramatic human expression, movement, and positioning. By stepping away from the Classical features, the Hellenistic artists felt free to experiment with different angles of the sculpture; thus creating artworks that are pleasantly visible from all points of view.
- Jordy Martino – Drunk Old Woman
- Brendan Fortin – Barberini Faun
- Laura Wasnick – Winged Victory of Samothrace
- Roxy Capron - Laocoön and His Sons
- Grant Nikols - Ludovisi Gaul
- Conor Boughton – Farnese Bull